MACo Supports Pretrial System Reform

MACo Associate Director, Natasha Mehu, testified in support of legislation (HB 1390) to establish pretrial programs to maintain a just, effective, and efficient pretrial system.

MACo’s testimony states

HB 1390 endeavors to codify rule changes adopted by the Court of Appeals to address concerns that bail was being set in a manner that could be determined to violate due process rights and constitutional prohibitions against excessive bail. Counties believe the adopted rules strike a reasonable balance between addressing those concerns and retaining a judge’s discretion to use bail when appropriate.

While HB 1390 requires local governments to establish pretrial programs, it provides a four year phase-in so counties that do not currently have a program can make the transition or form the necessary partnerships to have the services provided. Additionally, the bill mitigates concerns regarding implementation costs by providing eligibility for start-up grant funding. It is important to keep in mind that counties are best situated to determine the parameters of their pretrial programs and will do so based on the needs of their communities and the resources that are available. Pretrial programs do not work on a “one size fits all” basis.

This bill was heard by the House Judiciary Committee. The cross-file to the bill, SB 880, was heard by the Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee on March 1, 2017. Click here for previous Conduit Street coverage.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.